Diver finds lost wedding ring after 74-foot descent into Lake Travis


Highlights

Hannah Austin of Colorado Springs was eating at the Gnarly Gar on Lake Travis when she lost her ring.

Robert Weiss, owner of Lake Travis Scuba, found ring after diving 74 feet to bottom of Lake Travis.

Hannah Austin of Colorado Springs was eating lunch with her family at a Lake Travis restaurant Sunday afternoon when it happened: her husband, Chris Austin, accidentally knocked the wedding ring she had removed to eat a hamburger off the table.

It flipped right into a crack in the outdoor deck of the restaurant, the Gnarly Gar, and went straight into the murky water.

“I was terrified and felt stupid for taking my ring off over a lake,” said Hannah Austin in a phone interview from Colorado on Thursday. The ring was irreplaceable because it was custom-made with diamonds in it from her mother’s wedding ring and her great-grandmother’s engagement ring, she said.

Restaurant staff pulled up boards to look for it but had no luck, said Jermaine Andrews, a manager at the Gnarly Gar, at 18200 Lakepoint Cove in the Point Venture community.

Then they suggested the Austins call a scuba diver.

READ: Gnarly Gar gets new digs

Robert Weiss, the owner of Lake Travis Scuba and a teacher for Nitro Swimming arrived a short time after Chris Austin contacted him. He dropped a line through the crack where the ring had disappeared and extended it about 74 feet to the bottom of the lake before he dove in.

“It was completely black down there so I used a light and searched around the area but the ring wasn’t there,” said Weiss on Thursday.

Then he began swimming in a broader circle around where he thought the ring was. “On my third pass I saw something sitting in the mud and I reached in, and there it was,” he said. It took him about 10 minutes to find the ring, Weiss said.

Hannah Austin said when he emerged from the water holding the ring she fell to the ground. “I thought there was a 90 percent chance it had got eaten by a fish or just drifted away,” she said.

“It was kind of like this miracle moment,” said Chris Austin, who now added that he and his wife got insurance on the ring after Weiss found it.

Weiss said he finds lost items frequently on the bottom of Lake Travis because it’s rocky, so stuff doesn’t get completely hidden by mud.

“About three months ago I recovered a lady’s $11,000 wedding ring,” he said.

Hannah Austin said she paid $175 to Weiss for the dive on Sunday.

“The ring was priceless,” she said.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Cornyn, Cruz take opposing sides in Senate debate
Cornyn, Cruz take opposing sides in Senate debate

It was as close to a standoff as ever happens on the Senate floor: Texas GOP U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz were standing next to each other but working against each other, trying to convince a hold out senator to vote their way on foreign surveillance legislation. The clock was ticking on Tuesday night, with the usual 15-minute procedural vote...
Trump invokes Barbara Jordan in immigration debate, angering Democrats
Trump invokes Barbara Jordan in immigration debate, angering Democrats

President Donald Trump added an unexpected name into the national debate over immigration policy Wednesday by invoking the words of Barbara Jordan, the late groundbreaking Texas Democrat, in a message honoring her on the 22nd anniversary of her death. Trump said his “America First” immigration agenda was furthering “the spirit of...
Paxton: School voting action appears to violate state law
Paxton: School voting action appears to violate state law

A resolution encouraging students and public school employees to vote, adopted by school districts across the state, might have violated a state law that prohibits using public education money for partisan purposes, an opinion by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Wednesday. Texas Educators Vote, a partnership of mostly pro-public education groups...
Man accused of starting 4 fires inside portable restroom in downtown Austin, officials say 
Man accused of starting 4 fires inside portable restroom in downtown Austin, officials say 

A man was arrested Tuesday after setting fire in four separate occasions to a portable restroom in downtown Austin, Austin fire officials said.  Dewight Eric Clayton, 32, who is homeless, was charged with arson of a building, officials said. He was not in Travis County Jail Wednesday evening.  Austin fire Capt. Andy Reardon, with the Fire...
Austin’s outdoor workers tough out the cold
Austin’s outdoor workers tough out the cold

As record lows gripped the Austin area Wednesday morning — falling to 15 degrees at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport — not everyone was able to huddle inside. Construction workers, city public works employees, airport tarmac workers, and heating and air conditioning technicians were among those out in the kind of cold that the...
More Stories